How to get out of conversations with people you started talking to by mistake

Glue your eyes to the ground and never make any eye contact. File Elizabeth Wang

During the sunny days of September we were all enthusiastic about making friends and so we left all our self-consciousness behind and walked up to strangers trying to impress them with our talent in small talk. If we got lucky, we would make “friendships to last a lifetime,” but if not, we had signed ourselves up for awkward waves and half-smiles to people we would see, albeit sporadically, our entire degrees, but never really talk to beyond “how’re you doing?” and “good, you?”

This is a normal part of student life one could say, but sometimes you just want to go home, sleep and avoid the unnecessary and uncomfortable tête-à-têtes with your acquaintances. So how do you tell someone to shut up politely? Simple: you don’t. Here are some tricks on how to get away from them sans awkwardness.


Glue your eyes to the ground and never make any eye contact. You will probably walk into a tree or a bike at some point but it’s all worth it.

Ask about them

Make it about them – THEY need to go study, THEY have papers to finish, THEIR laundry is waiting to be washed, THEIR potatoes will rot if they don’t harvest them right now, THEY have a midterm tomorrow, et cetera. Was one of those not like the others? Exactly. Confuse them.

Lie, lie, lie

Construct a lie so intricate that you always have an excuse. The first time you see them, tell them you’re late for a secret meeting; the second time, hint that you’re part of an underground political society. After this, just wear a Che Guevara shirt everywhere you go and play the Soviet national anthem so loudly that they’re convinced that you’re preparing to overthrow capitalism during your time at university, and “Vive La Révolution!” isn’t just your Instagram bio.


Other alternatives include learning the art of hypnosis, mastering camouflage, never taking a shower so you stink so much that people automatically avoid you (although this one may not always work in your favour), or hiring the Secret Service as your bodyguards 24/7.